IF YOU could relieve the suffering of another person, would you? Relief workers often rush to a natural disaster to relieve suffering and to save the lives of total strangers. So one might ask, ‘Why wouldn’t God hurry to get rid of the Devil, the one who is responsible for untold human suffering?’
To help answer that question, you might visualize a prominent court case. The murderer, desperate to halt the proceedings, claims that the judge is dishonest in the way he presides over his own courtroom, and he even asserts that the jurors are being bribed by the judge. So countless witnesses are allowed to provide testimony.
The judge knows that the extensive proceedings will cause much inconvenience, and he would like to have the case concluded without undue delay. Yet, he realizes that to arrive at a judgment that will set a precedent for possible future cases, both parties must be allowed sufficient time to present their side of the dispute.
To arrive at a judgment that will set a moral precedent, both parties must be allowed sufficient time to present their side of the dispute
How does this illustration relate to a challenge the Devil—also called “dragon,” “serpent,” and “Satan”—hurled at Jehovah, “the Most High over all the earth”? (Revelation 12:9; Psalm 83:18) Who really is the Devil? And what accusations has he made against Jehovah God? Also, when will God get rid of him?
The Setting of a Moral Precedent
Originally the one who became the Devil was a perfect spirit person, one of God’s angels. (Job 1:6, 7) He made himself the Devil when he became obsessed with a selfish ambition to be worshipped by humans. So he challenged God’s right to rule, even insinuating that God does not deserve to be obeyed. He charged that humans serve God only when bribed with blessings. Satan claimed that under personal hardship all people would “curse” their Creator.—Job 1:8-11; 2:4, 5.
Such accusations from Satan required responses that could not be answered simply by a show of force. In fact, executing the Devil in the garden of Eden would perhaps have suggested to some that the Devil was right. So God, possessing absolute authority, began legal proceedings to settle such issues in the minds of all observers.
In harmony with his principles and perfect justice, Jehovah God indicated that each party would produce witnesses who would give supporting testimony to its side of the controversy. The time allowed has given Adam’s descendants a chance to live and to add their testimony in God’s behalf by choosing to keep integrity to him out of love despite any hardships.
How Much Longer?
Jehovah God is keenly aware that while those legal proceedings take place, humans continue to suffer. Yet, he is determined to close the case at the earliest time possible. The Bible describes him as “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3) Clearly, “the God of all comfort” will not allow the Devil to live any longer than necessary, nor will He allow the effects of his influence to remain. On the other hand, God will not eliminate the Devil prematurely, without the universal court case being completely finished.
When the issues are finally settled, Jehovah’s right to rule will have been thoroughly vindicated. The legal case against Satan will stand as a touchstone for all eternity. Should a similar challenge ever arise again, Satan’s example could be pointed to as a precedent that will not need to be repeated.
In due time, Jehovah God will direct his resurrected Son to get rid of the Devil and undo all of his works. The Bible tells of the time when Christ “hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.”—1 Corinthians 15:24-26.
Happily, the Bible promises that Paradiselike conditions will be found earth wide. As God originally purposed, people will live in a peaceful paradise! “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” Yes, “the righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:11, 29.
Consider the grand prospect for God’s servants that is described in the Bible: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:3, 4.